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Forgetting Lutheranism: Historians and the Early Reformation in Poland (1517–1548)

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This article reconstructs and explores the problematic historiography of the early Reformation in the lands of the Polish Crown, a significant locus of Lutheranism in the reign of King Zygmunt I Jagiellon (1506–1548). The eighteenth, nineteenth, and early-to mid twentieth centuries produced a sizeable literature on early Lutheranism in Poland, fuelled by Polish-German conflict, minority politics, and Stalinist state sponsorship. Since the 1960s, however, scholarship in Polish and German has had very little to say about Lutheranism in the lands of the Polish Crown before 1548. It is argued that the discrediting of Ostforschung after World War Two, coupled with the rise of a new Polish nationalist reading of the Reformation from the 1960s (which rejected Lutheranism as German, and un-Polish), have led to a deliberate twentieth-century “forgetting” of the Polish kingdom’s Lutheran past, which impoverishes our understandings of the European Reformations.

10.1163/18712428-09220005
/content/journals/10.1163/18712428-09220005
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/content/journals/10.1163/18712428-09220005
2012-01-01
2016-12-04

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